Matthew 11: Praise for John the Baptizer

John the Baptizer identified Jesus as the Messiah after seeing the Spirit descend as a dove upon him. Now in prison, why did he ask if they should look for someone else?

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Matthew 11:1–3 As soon as Jesus finished instructing his twelve disciples, he left to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. John the Baptizer was in prison but heard what the Messiah was doing. He sent two of his disciples 3 with the question: “Are you the one to fulfill God’s promise, or must we look for someone else?”
John 1:33 “I would not have known him, but the one who sent me to baptize said, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.'”
1:35–36 The next day, John was again at the Jordan River, this time with two of his disciples. When he looked up and saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look! The Lamb of God.”
King James
Matthew 11:1–3 And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
John 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
1:35–36 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

Why didn’t John already know all that Jesus was doing?

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Matthew 11:4–6 “Go tell John what you have seen and heard,” Jesus said. The blind see, the lame walk, and the lepers are cleansed. The deaf can hear, the dead are raised, and the needy receive words of hope. Tell him a man is blessed when he puts his faith in me.”
King James
Matthew 11:4–6 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

If John had already pointed out Jesus as the Messiah, why were John’s disciples not following Jesus?

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Matthew 11:7 As the two left, Jesus asked the people about John. “What did you go into the wilderness to see? A reed blown over by the wind?
John 1:33 “I would not have known him, but the one who sent me to baptize said, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.'”
1:35–36 The next day, John was again at the Jordan River, this time with two of his disciples. When he looked up and saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look! The Lamb of God.”
King James
Matthew 11:7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
John 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
1:35–36 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

Why did Jesus say John was greater than all the previous prophets, yet the least in the Kingdom of Heaven?

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Matthew 11:7–11 As the two left, Jesus asked the people about John. “What did you go into the wilderness to see? A reed blown over by the wind? Why did you go? Was it to see a man dressed in fine clothes? No, those people live in the royal palaces. What did you expect to see? A prophet? Yes, and I tell you, he is more remarkable than a prophet. He is the one the prophet Malachi talked about when he wrote: See, I will send my messenger to prepare the way before me. Believe me, John the Baptizer is greater than any other person ever born. Yet the lowliest one in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than John.”
King James
Matthew 11:7–11 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

What is the difference between taking the Kingdom of Heaven and taking a kingdom on Earth?

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Matthew 11:12 “Ever since the Messiah’s coming was foretold, violent people have sought to take the Kingdom of Heaven by force.”
John 18:36 “My Kingdom is not of this world,” Jesus said. “If it were, my disciples would have fought to prevent my arrest by the Jews. No, my Kingdom is not from here.”
King James
Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

How did John fulfill the promise that Elijah would come?

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Matthew 11:13–15 “For the Law and the prophets anticipated John’s coming, and if you can believe it, John is the ‘Elijah’ who must come before the Messiah. If you have ears, pay attention to what I am saying.”
17:10–13 “All these who are mine belong to you, and all who are yours belong to me, so they bring me glory. I am leaving the world to come to you, but they must remain here. Holy Father, protect them by the direction and authority you gave me so they may be of one spirit with you as we are. While I was with them, I protected them by the authority you gave to me. Not one of those you gave me has been lost except the one destined for destruction so scripture might be fulfilled. Now I am coming to you. I have said these things while still with them in the world so their lives may be filled with my joy.”
King James
Matthew 11:13–15 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
17:10–13 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

Why were some people unsatisfied with both John and Jesus?

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Matthew 11:16–19 Jesus said, “What are the people of this generation like? They are like children in the marketplace, whining to get what they want. They say, ‘We played our flutes, but you would not dance for us. We wailed our funeral songs, but you never shed a tear with us.’ John the Baptizer did not party with the people. He chose not to eat or drink with others, and they said, ‘He has an evil spirit.’ When the Son of Man came, he ate bread and drank wine. They condemned him as well, calling him a drunkard and a glutton, a friend of dishonest tax collectors and other sinners. However, the results show the actions to be wise.”
King James
Matthew 11:16–19 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

After hearing Jesus, how could some of the people of Capernaum, Korazin, Bethsaida, Tyre, and Sidon be worse off than those who died in God’s punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah?

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Genesis 19:24–25 Upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah, the Lord rained from fire and burning stones from above. He overthrew those cities and their inhabitants, the valley and everything that grew there.
Isaiah 1:9 If Almighty God hadn’t saved the few of us, we would have been like Sodom and Gomorrah, utterly destroyed.
Matthew 11:20–24 Jesus reprimanded the people who lived in the towns where he had done many miracles, because they had refused to repent. “How terrible it will be for you, Korazin. And for you, Bethsaida. If the people of Tyre and Sidon had seen the miracles you saw me do in your towns, they would have turned to God long ago in sackcloth and ashes. You can be sure, on Judgment Day, they will fare better than you. And you in Capernaum who think you are so high and mighty, God will bring you to the lowest depths. For if the people of Sodom had seen the miracles I did for you, that city would still be standing today. You can be sure, on Judgment Day, they will fare better than you.”
King James
Genesis 19:24–25 Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.
Isaiah 1:9 Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.
Matthew 11:20–24 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

Why did Jesus thank the Father for revealing the truth to ordinary people and not society’s elite?

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Matthew 11:25–26 Suddenly, he looked upward and said, “I thank you, Father, ruler of Heaven and Earth, because you have revealed to ordinary people what you have hidden from those who think they are educated and wise. Surely, Father, it pleases you to see it work in this way.”
Mark 10:31 “Those who were thought to be least important are first, and the first are last.”
1 Corinthians 1:27 God uses what the world regards as foolishness to embarrass those who think they are so smart. Through our weaknesses, he will do mighty things that confound those who hold positions of power.
James 2:5 Listen, beloved friends, didn’t God appoint the destitute in the world to be rich in faith, inheriting the Kingdom that was promised to those who love him?
King James
Matthew 11:25–26 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.
Mark 10:31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.
1 Corinthians 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
James 2:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

What did Jesus mean by saying the Father had entrusted everything to him?

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Matthew 11:27 To the people, Jesus said, “The Father has entrusted everything to me. No one knows the Son like the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son reveals him.
King James
Matthew 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

What can we do to lighten our burdens?

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Matthew 11:28–30 “Come to me, all who are overburdened and weary. Like the lead ox on a team, I will help pull your heavy load. Take my yoke upon you, and learn to walk my way, for I am gentle and humble of heart. In me, you will find rest for your souls, because my yoke fits and your share of the load is light.”
King James
Matthew 11:28–30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.